I'm interested in the way literature can help us explore aspects of the human condition - particularly suffering, sex, love, faith, and redemption. My favourite stories are those in which a character takes a journey, either a physical journey to a new and exciting place, or a personal journey in which he or she learns something about himself/herself.
I'm also interested in how aesthetic elements such as art, architecture, and music can be used to tell a story or to illuminate the traits of a particular character. In my writing, I combine all of these elements with the themes of redemption, forgiveness, and the transformative power of goodness.
I try to use my platform as an author to raise awareness about the following charities: Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep Foundation, WorldVision, Alex's Lemonade Stand, and Covenant House.
It’s a pleasure to be with you for the RFTC’s My Favorite Things Event. I want to share my top – 5 favorite museums.
1. The Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy.
The Uffizi Gallery contains a large percentage of the world’s Renaissance art, including pieces by Leonardo Da Vinci, Botticelli, Michelangelo, etc. It’s easy to navigate and not usually as crowded as, say, The Louvre. There’s an exceptional view of the Piazza Signoria nearby from a rooftop terrace café. I’ve used the Gallery (and the terrace) as the backdrop for several scenes in my novels, including Gabriel’s Rapture and The Raven.
2. The Louvre, Paris, France.
The Louvre is an incredible repository of art and antiquities. It’s very large and so visitors would benefit from booking a guided tour that focuses on a few pieces. The Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci is one of the jewels of the collection. The Louvre will be featured in my next book, “The Man in the Black Suit,” which is set in Paris.
3. The British Museum, London, England.
The British Museum is another incredible repository of art and antiquities. The Rosetta Stone is here, as are the Elgin Marbles, which were taken off the Parthenon in Athens. They have winged bulls from Assyria and heads from Easter Island. They also have an incredible atrium. Once again, visitors would benefit from booking a guided tour that would focus on a few pieces rather than trying to rush through the museum.
4. The Vatican Museums, Rome, Italy.
The Vatican Museums are incredible and a tour of the main museum ends with the incomparable Sistine Chapel, whose frescoes were painted by Michelangelo. You’ll want to take your time in this museum as there are a number of surprises, including wall frescoes by Raphael in various rooms and other incredible pieces. Once you reach the Chapel, you’ll want to take a spot at the perimeter and look up, admiring the breathtaking ceiling.
5. The Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Canada.
Admittedly, this is a patriotic choice. But The ROM does an excellent job of bringing art and antiquities to Toronto. They have a very interesting Egyptology section as well as a collection of Chinese art and artifacts. The ROM is also the backdrop for a particular scene in “Gabriel’s Inferno” that I very much enjoyed writing…
The Raven, which is the first novel in my now complete Florentine Series.
Raven Wood spends her days at Florence's Uffizi gallery restoring Renaissance art. But an innocent walk home after an evening with friends changes her life forever. When she intervenes in the senseless beating of a homeless man, his attackers turn on her, dragging her into an alley. Raven is only semiconscious when their assault is interrupted by a cacophony of growls followed by her attackers' screams. Mercifully, she blacks out, but not before catching a glimpse of a shadowy figure who whispers to her . . .Cassita vulneratus.When Raven awakes, she is inexplicably changed. Upon returning to the Uffizi, no one recognizes her. More disturbingly, she discovers that she's been absent an entire week. With no recollection of her disappearance, Raven learns that her absence coincides with one of the largest robberies in Uffizi history--the theft of a set of priceless Botticelli illustrations. When the police identify her as their prime suspect, Raven is desperate to clear her name. She seeks out one of Florence's wealthiest and most elusive men in an attempt to uncover the truth. Their encounter leads Raven to a dark underworld whose inhabitants kill to keep their secrets . . .
Check out The Florentine series:
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